Nano3: NanoMaterials, NanoElectronics, and NanoPhotonics

The Nano3 research network at Hull addresses fundamental issues in NanoMaterials, NanoElectronics, and NanoPhotonics.

The Challenge

The Nano3 research network at Hull addresses fundamental issues in NanoMaterials, NanoElectronics, and NanoPhotonics. The group aims at addressing key societal problems in the areas of energy, information and communications technology (ICT) and health via a strong synergy between complementary expertise in Physics, Chemistry and Materials Science to create and develop future technologies.

The Approach

Strong links with industry enable us to explore future smarter and more energy efficient nanodevices, impacting on contemporary societal themes.


technical diagram
a variety of diagrams, charts and graphs on nanomaterials
  • Projects


    Our research aims at understanding and controlling light-matter interactions at the nanoscale. This is of key importance for the development of new and innovative devices to address the needs and challenges of our future societies which will be characterised by an aging population, ever increasing energy demands, and exponentially growing data generation. Those trends are already creating new demands that are not answered by current technology.

    Understanding and controlling light-matter interactions at the nanoscale will allow to unlock the necessary novel technologies for a thriving innovative society. We concentrate our research in 3 key societal challenges around light-matter interactions at the nanoscale:

    1. Novel and high-energy efficiency optoelectronic devices
    2. Innovative optical sensing solutions for medical and environmental applications
    3. Active plasmonic devices for on-chip signal processing and neuromorphic applications

    To achieve those goals, we study:

    • The fundamental aspects of light matter interactions at the nanoscale
    • Surface enhanced spectroscopy techniques (e.g. SERS-SEIRA)
    • Hybrid Plasmonic/Photonic nano-light sources
    • Metamaterials and metasurfaces

    Contacts: Dr Ali Adawi and Dr Jean-Sebastien Bouillard


    The NanoElectronics and Mesoscopic Systems group (NEMeSys) is focused on investigating the experimental and theoretical electronic properties of matter, particularly at the nanoscale and/or when nanoparticles are involved. Our activities aim at exploring the use of a range of thin films and nanomaterials in electronic applications such as information storage, energy harvesting, energy storage and sensing applications both using inorganic and organic electronics.

    We have a long tradition of research activity and experience in the field of of non-volatile memory devices such as floating gate nanoparticle memories (FLASH), since the early 2000s, and more recently resistive switching memories (RRAM), since 2010. In the last few years we have also started research efforts in integrating electronic devices in the 3D printing process using an all-in-1-go approach.

    Our group is proud to boast our own state-of-the-art custom designed and built facility for electrical characterization. More information is available here.

    Contact: Dr Emanuele Verrelli


    Our research aims at creating nanostructured soft materials such as colloids and polymers through powerful bottom-up self-assembly methods. Our expertise is in theoretical modelling, but we collaborate extensively with theoretical and experimental groups in Hull, across the UK and internationally. A key focus of recent research has been to study the self-assembly of colloids at interfaces as the unique behaviour of colloids in this environment provides new exciting opportunities to design dimensionally confined structures in order to create functional nanomaterials, reconfigurable devices and biomimetic systems.

    To achieve these goals, we employ both finite-element simulations such as Monte Carlo and Brownian Dynamics and finite-element simulations such as Surface Evolver and computational fluid mechanics. 

    Through close collaborations with chemistry colleagues, we explore the fundamental optical characteristics of a range of novel nanoparticles and their cutting edge applications. 

    Our research focuses on inorganic nanoparticles (INPs). INPs are now involved in several applications within, biomedicine, catalysis and environmental remediation, just to mention a few. INPs are generally oxides, sulphides, halides, nitrides, alloys and intermetallic compounds, and their chemical composition are closely related to those of inorganic materials. Yet the breadth of chemical variety is narrower in the nanoworld and complex materials, such as mixed-metal compounds, showing chemical flexibility and a variety of important physico/chemical properties are less widespread. Synthesis and characterisation techniques for INPs are also drawn from solid-state chemistry as well as doping strategies, vastly used to tailor the properties of inorganic solids and create new compounds. Widening the overlap between nanoparticle-specific aspects with the area of traditional inorganic solids will lead to an expanded toolbox of synthetic and doping strategies hence to an expanded range of chemical composition and perhaps unexpected properties for INPs.

    Our research focuses mainly, but not exclusively, on (1) new synthetic strategies for the synthesis and/or functionalisation of known INPs, (2) strategies for doping of INPs towards tailoring of physico/chemical properties, (3) deeper understanding of current synthetic procedures, (4) synthetic routes leading to new compositions to translate traditional inorganic materials into the nanoworld.

    Contacts: Dr Martin Buzza, Dr Ali Adawi,Dr Jean-Sebastien Bouillard, Dr M. Grazia Francesconi

  • Group members

    Dr Ali Adawi

    Reader in Physics  

    Dr Jean-Sebastien Bouillard

    Senior Lecturer in Physics

    Dr Emanuele Verrelli

    Lecturer in Physics 

    Dr D. Martin Buzza

    Reader in Physics 

    Dr M. Grazia Francesconi

    Senior Lecturer in Chemistry 

    Dr Tommy Horozov

    Senior Lecturer in Chemistry

The Impact

Examples of our research include on-chip nanolight sources for future optical computing needs and high-speed communications, novel sensing solutions, low cost electronics, and novel high-speed and low-power non-volatile memories and spintronic devices for emerging memory devices and neuromorphic applications. Our research focusses on innovation and therefore naturally has a strong potential for new IP and commercial impact. Close links with researchers in Life Sciences allow us to extend our impact in biomedical applications such as cancer diagnostics and novel approaches to treatments, personalised health care, and point of care diagnostics.


Department of Physics and Mathematics

Our research is at the frontier of physics and mathematics; stretching across the breadth of topics that are embedded in the department's activity.